A living will is referred to in Colorado by the technical name “advanced directive.” This document discusses someone’s medical wishes under very specific end of life circumstances. These documents are important additions to any estate plan because sometimes, people get hurt or become so ill that they cannot communicate with others. Other times, their health could decline to a point where they lose their testamentary capacity. They are no longer capable of making rational decisions on their own behalf.
In such scenarios, special documents, including living wills, largely determine what care someone would receive. Doing this not only lets your wishes be known but removes the burden on your loved ones from guessing what you might have wanted. Who generally needs to put together a living will in Colorado?
Someone who just turned 18 might have plans to start college or begin a career. Young adults often take for granted that their parents can support them in an emergency as they have done previously throughout their lives. However, when someone turns 18, generally their parents no longer have the authority to make medical decisions on their behalf or access their medical records. Living wills or advanced directives are crucial even for those who have just become adults in case they become unable to communicate on their own behalf. Powers of attorney will be important for helping others act on their behalf.
Those without a spouse
Anyone with a spouse can usually rely on the person they married to manage their finances and medical needs if they become incapacitated. However, those who are in a relationship and never marry and those who get divorced have no such protection. Anyone without a spouse needs someone else with the legal authority to speak on their behalf and information clarifying what medical wishes someone has. A living will can provide directions, and a medical power of attorney can help empower someone to act.
Both those individuals who remain single and those preparing for divorce will typically benefit from drafting medical powers of attorney and advanced directives, to ensure they receive proper care in an emergency, and lift the burden on their family from having to make difficult decisions. Even those who remain married to their spouses their entire lives often benefit from adding living wills to their estate plans. That way, they can name someone other than their spouse to manage their medical affairs and provide clear instructions about their wishes to their family. That can take pressure off the person closest to them during what will inevitably be a very difficult time.
Integrating the right documents into a Colorado estate plan can help maximize someone’s protection if their health rapidly deteriorates. Seeking legal guidance is a great way to get started.